Monday, October 22, 2012

Happy Memories of Amato's Beer Tasting - Part I

I thought it important to share my happy memories of Saturday, lest i forget the taste of each of the 50-odd beers on display that fine afternoon, so following is a brief overview of the beers as tasted by The Beer Whisperer.  Even 50 small beers will write off your average beer taster, but throw in a few strong ones (and repeated tastings just to be sure) and your average beer taster will lose not only one's ability to walk, but also to talk of oneself in the first person.  Still, it's a long way since those heady days of the Kalgoorlie-Boulder pub crawl, where 50 beers were all full size, and even then we had extras and it took some dastardly alcoholic slurpies to deny me entry to the last pub.  Curse those evil slurpies!

First cab off the rank was the James Squire stand, which i presumed was vacant thanks to Chuck Hahn selling out once again at the expense of taste and quality, although i was assured he still held quality control as head brewer.  That was good enough for me, so unto the breach I go!  It is a pleasure to say that they have not gone the way of Hahn Premium, which eventually tasted suspiciously like Tooheys Red.  Maybe they got a batch wrong.  Or a brewery.  Whatever.  Anyway, the clean taste remained, along with the delicate aromas from the quality hops and yeasts, although the body of the beer seemed to have miraculously disappeared, a suspicious sign of sugar substitution for malt.  Ye old cost-cutting doth sour thou reputation, methinks!  Shame, Chuck, shame.  Still, they weren’t Hahn Premium, so there’s a tin lining there somewhere.

Next off the rank were a couple of famous pommie ales, strangely enough on the same stand as Samuel Adams from Boston.  If I was cruel (and I am when it comes to American beer.  Thanks, Bud), I could say they all tasted like the Atlantic between them, although to be fair they were a class above, which is a compliment for American beer, at least.  The Fullers London Pride was worthy of its fame, smelling distinctly of toffee, but fortunately not tasting like it.  Clear and clean with a smooth maltiness that was worth more than a mere tasting, it explemplified the best of British ales, and would have made for far better memories for the old man than the putrid Newcastle Brown Ale that followed him around England like a bad smell in the 70’s.  Drinking that stuff would do that to you, y’ know!

Still, the Old Speckled Hen arguably bettered that, with a more subtle yet complex flavour that demands another try.  Or three.  Anyway, I spy Lord Nelson commanding me to battle ye old ale, so I must continue my quest and pursue my destiny forthwith!

Making a beeline for the Lord Nelsons, an Italian gentleman materialised in front of me to distract me from my mission with some oxymoronic Italian beers.  Fortunately they turned out not to be at all moronic, although twenty of so of the strong ones could certainly turn me that way.  The Oro di Milano came in three strengths in the Belgian tradition of single, double and triple, as Pure Malt, Double Malt and the 8.5% "Reserva", Italian for "triple drunkenness".  In what can only be assigned to temporary insanity, i found myself preferring the standard strength Pure Malt, which had the distinctive Italian flavour of Peroni and Menabrea, but with more subtlety which would put it ahead of its famous peers.  What next, a German viniculturalist?  An Uzbek tequila master distiller, perchance? Nope, a genuine, you beaut, dinki di, true blue Aussie beer brewer of great fame and notoriety...

On to the Lord Nelsons and destiny!! In Part II.......

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